Margaret Trist (1914 - 1986)
Saturday night, in the main street kerb, The angle-parked cars are full of watchers, their feet on invisible accelerators, Going nowhere, fast. ‘Provincial City’, Bruce Dawe
Margaret Trist was born Margaret Beth Lucas in Dalby on 27 November 1914 and educated there at St Columba's Convent. On leaving school she moved to Sydney where, at the age of nineteen, she married Frank Trist. Trist spent most of the remainder of her life in Sydney, apart from a small period in the early years of the war when she and her husband lived in Blaxland in the Blue Mountains. Despite publishing all of her literary work while in Sydney, she deserves to be included in any account of Darling Downs writing. The key to many of the characters of her novels and short stories is often to be found in their rural past and Trist makes frequent use of her own upbringing in Dalby. "… behind her lay her own town, Meredith and Marny alone in the small house on Palm-grove Street. Behind lay Land's End, where the walls still whispered old stories to those who wished to hear. Behind lay Granny and Granddad and the Sawpit tree. Behind lay Grandfather, sleeping peacefully in the grave from which one could see the blue line of hills, and over which blew the free wind from the plain. Behind lay her childhood. … From now on she would cross any border which she wanted to cross."
Morning in Queensland, Margaret Trist
Trist wrote many short stories and published regularly in the Sydney Bulletin, but also in Southerly, Overland and Meanjin. Her stories frequently explore the bittersweet experience of a local place and some are collected in In the Sun (1943) and What Else is There (1946). She wrote three novels Now that We're Laughing (1945), Daddy (1947), and Morning in Queensland (1958).
Now that We're Laughing was published in the United States as Sun on the Hills, and Morning in Queensland was published in England and the United States as Tansy. The last novel deals with the growth to maturity of a young girl on the Darling Downs and has auto-biographical resonances. It was highly commended in the Mary Gilmore Awards in 1958.
R. G. Geering, 'Margaret Trist.' Southerly 46.4 (1986): 467-471
Kerryn Goldsworthy, , 'Short Fiction.' Australian Literary Studies 13.4 (1988): 535-546.
Stead, Christina. 'Tales from Down Under.' Christina Stead : Selected Fiction and Nonfiction. Ed. R. G Geering and Anita Kristina Segerberg. St Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1994. 212-214.
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